Everybody is talking about McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate.
I think it’s sort of straightforward, actually:
1. The right-wing Republican base seems delighted. So he has shored up his shaky base.
2. He is obviously pandering to Hillary supporters, and that will probably have very little effect because Palin and Clinton disagree on almost all issues. But anybody he drags away because Palin is a woman – even a few percent of disgruntled Hillary supporters – will just be extra gravy.
3. He took away the news cycle from Obama the day after Obama’s big climactic finish.
4. Palin is sort of a “maverick” like McCain likes to think he is. So maybe he saw something of himself in her.
So as just politics go, it was probably a pretty good move. I don’t see any downside. Strong Obama supporters weren’t going to be drawn to vote for McCain anyway. So shoring up his base and maybe grabbing a few wavering women voters won’t hurt him any.
I’m going to make an early prediction that barring a huge gaffe on the part of McCain that McCain wins the election. Because:
1. Obama didn’t even seriously consider Hillary for a running mate, even though she got basically the same amount of votes he did hurt, so he is further hurting party unity.
2. Obama made it even worse by going for a running mate completely inside the Washington system for over 30 years now, utterly contradicting his argument against Hillary and his whole argument for his own candidacy.
3. Obama backtracking on so many positions that nobody can believe anything he says anymore.
4. The fact that McCain and Obama are tied at this point, and that McCain is ahead in Ohio.
5. The fact that Obama really has a very thin resume, and seemed to just use one job as a way to get his next job without really accomplishing anything along the way…
All this just adds up to the Democrats having made a huge mistake this year.
Obama seems much weakened as time goes by. And now there is this new Reuters/Zogby poll showing McCain again by 5 points. The Democratic nominee in a year like this should be ahead by 30 points!
Obama peaked like in March. Hillary had the momentum after that.
What also drives me crazy is that:
(1) Hillary was the clear favorite among actual registered Democrats, and this was supposed to be a Democratic party nomination. The state and party rules are bogus.
(2) She did much better in states where they actually had primaries. The caucuses are not very democratic because there are no absentee ballots, and disabled and elderly and working people on fixed shifts have a hard time getting to them.
(3) If the nomination rules were like in the Republican party (straight proportional allocation or winner-take-all (which is like the real election!)) Hillary would have won the nomination by a landslide.
As it is, the Democrats end up with a hangover and weak candidate.
In the NY Times they had an article about Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as a potential Obama running mate:
This part was funny:
Her moment in the national spotlight, delivering the Democratic response to the State of the Union address in January, prompted blistering reviews and an annotated sendup by Jon Stewart: “Wow, flat and boring. What state is she from again?” (Ms. Sebelius had concluded by telling President Bush, “God bless and sleep well,” to which Mr. Stewart responded, “We’re way ahead of you.”)